ISLAND OF DREAMS; as Some on Orkney Campaign for a Road Link to the Mainland, Is It Wise to Give Up the Unique Culture and Heritage of a Singular Way of Life?

Daily Mail (London), September 14, 2005 | Go to article overview

ISLAND OF DREAMS; as Some on Orkney Campaign for a Road Link to the Mainland, Is It Wise to Give Up the Unique Culture and Heritage of a Singular Way of Life?


Byline: TIM LUCKHURST

FOR as long as man has been creating art, literature and philosophy, islands have manifested themselves in our imaginations as metaphors as well as things.

More than four centuries before the birth of Christ, the Greek philosopher Plato invented the imaginary island of Atlantis. For him, the island represented the ideal society, a boldly independent redoubt where prosperity, justice and good taste thrived.

Shakespeare, in Richard II, described his homeland as " this sceptred isle - a precious stone set in the silver sea" and deemed it a ' demiparadise' populated by a 'happy breed of men'.

But he was not the only Briton to identify a connection between isolation and contentment. The word Utopia, these days taken simply to mean a perfect community, was invented by the Renaissance author and martyr Sir Thomas More.

He even offered a geographical location: an island lying just south of the equator.

Islands have also been depicted as scenes of horror.

In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the isolation of a desert island provides the scene for vile exploits by a band of children. But Golding's central point about islands is essentially the same as that made by Plato, Shakespeare and More and by Daniel Defoe in Robinson Crusoe.

An island is a place where a unique set of values can exist.

Protected by the sea from outside influence, they are places of unique intensity, where local values can thrive unpolluted by influences from the mainland.

When it comes to preserving unique and valuable traditions, islands are as important to human diversity as threatened species are to its biological counterpart.

Nowhere is this truer than in the island communities that huddle along the western and northern coasts of Scotland. It is no accident that, for most of the 20th century, Gaelic survived better as a living language in the island communities of the Hebrides than anywhere on the Scottish mainland.

From Arran in the south via Islay, Jura, Mull and on round Cape Wrath to the Orkney and Shetland Islands, the selfcontained strength of island communities has preserved other precious traditions too.

A spectacular example occurred only last month when the Bruichladdich whisky company announced the first batch of triple -distilled Trestarig whisky to be made in Scotland for centuries.

Created according to a recipe preserved on Islay since 1703, it owes its name to a unique collision of Gaelic, Arabic and Norse. A 300-yearold manuscript, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, described it as an unrivalled 'corrective' used by islanders to stave off cold and damp.

THE same island sensibility has preserved traditions of song and storytelling, poetry, craft and cuisine. The enduring strength of religious piety in the Western Isles reflects this proud capacity to resist homogenisation. So do festivals such as Up Helly Aa, held each year in Shetland to celebrate the end of Yule.

As a small child living in Lerwick, I watched in awe as hundreds of 'guisers' pursued a Viking longship through the town to the burning site.

In the darkened streets hundreds of flaming torches created an almost magical vision that is imprinted on my mind.

I did not understand that my neighbours were celebrating Norse origins that date back to the arrival of Viking warriors in the eighth and ninth centuries. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

ISLAND OF DREAMS; as Some on Orkney Campaign for a Road Link to the Mainland, Is It Wise to Give Up the Unique Culture and Heritage of a Singular Way of Life?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.